Let’s go on a small journey together. A story-telling adventure one might call it.
You know when you’re on your lunch break at work at mindlessly cruising through ridiculous Facebook updates (like everyday, who are we kidding). The window was open and a hot-humid Canadian summer was a thin wall away. Ah - summer in Canada. Lunch was a crispy bread panini with turkey, aioli sauce, avocado, fresh tomatoes and baby spinach (... I just made that part up actually to help with the scene for the story - but let’s go along with it and have some fun. There was goat cheese on it. Just saying.) It was delicious.
But we’re back to Facebook now, and a particular update flashed across my screen that pulled at me. I know, you’re thinking it must have been a cat video. (Puppies!) But I can tell you’re a pretty smart person already, so you’ve probably guessed it must had something to do with elephants.
You see, my friend and world traveler Laura whose life is #goals, was living the life overseas and had landed a volunteer opportunity working with orphaned elephants. I dropped my panini and perfect avocado slices few everywhere (and I didn’t even care). There was something special going on here that was bigger than imaginary paninis. Yes friends, this is possible.
For the next 2 hours I was immersed in the stories of these orphaned elephants, whose names I couldn’t pronounce but whose stories were belly-achingly powerful. Looking at their pictures even over the cold blue glow of my laptop screen, I had many feelings.
Another important part of this story that I should mention at this point, is that when I say “I had feelings” this is really an understatement. At my desk with a mess of food around me, ten chrome tabs open about elephants (and absolutely no work getting done - whoops) these emotions were bubbling up inside me like a shaken beer can. Yes, this was going to be an ugly cry. Full toddler in a mall trying to get away from a leashed backpack (fun factoid, I was once this toddler).
After 2 full rollercoaster hours of sobbing (“elephants are so beautiful” happy crying, “I can’t stand the thought of an elephant being hurt” painful crying, and everything in between) I realized that I had to transform this emotion into some sort of action.
In order to find some semblance of calm, I found that I needed to put my wallet where my heart was and donate my tax return that year to help out. I signed up to get updates about the elephants I had adopted. My soul was calmed, at peace. I could look at funny videos of baby otters eating again. (Side note, I wasn’t able to read these elephant stories for a very long time because they would send me back into this weepy, goopy crying fit - wasn’t that just the visual you wanted?)
That experience ended up being extremely meaningful - both because something real happened that day that I felt to my core, but also because I was able to find a profound sense of peace by doing something about it. For the next few years, I found anything to do with elephants to be extremely emotional for me to process. Cue a running joke where my coworkers would send me baby elephant videos and I would have a borderline Kristen Bell and sloth reaction. I avoided elephants. They were too much for my senses.
But why should you avoid what you love just because it makes you feel things. That’s ridiculous, Maya. I agree. If you have these feelings you should do something about them. Make a difference. Stomp your foot down like a stampeding elephant.
Since I have started sharing my love for elephants - wearing elephant leggings, sharing this story, buying mugs, bracelets, (you get it, elephants are great) - I’ve found that many other people also feel this strong draw towards these amazing creatures.
I recently found out that my love for elephants started a long time ago, as a toddler when I found this picture. The plot thickens!
Elephant & Co. origins
I decided to start elephant & co. as a registered federal non-profit to share my love for cool elephant products, share important elephant welfare information, and raise money for organizations that do so much for elephants in need.
Luckily I have the digital marketing & web chops to back it up (and some awesome team members and volunteers!).
By day I'm the Founding Partner & Digital Marketer at an International Digital Marketing Agency called Digital Coalition. I'm obsessed with digital marketing and can't wait to bring my skills to this project.
We're Looking For Volunteers
That could be you!
We have a volunteer team that is working hard to bring our products online. We're currently looking for additional writers, social media rockstars, and designers to help with our mission. Volunteers will receive full training on digital marketing tactics and real life experience. Also, you will get to contribute to an amazing cause! Send an email to community @ elephantand.co and let us know how you want to get involved!